What is therapy like?
Because each person is different, bringing with them their own histories, current difficulties and goals for therapy, therapy will be different for everyone. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history, relationships and other information that may support the therapy and your goals. Depending on your specific needs and goals, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will gain more from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you gain insight and bring what you learn in session back into your daily life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling or keeping a log, or perhaps even just noticing particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy vary in their readiness, but ideally should be prepared to make positive changes in their lives, to include being open to new perspectives and taking responsibility for their lives.
How could therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management and body image issues. Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, partner or marital issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or help you move in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your daily life
- Improving your self-esteem and increasing self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they may need some support, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in your life and making a commitment to yourself by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, overcoming challenges you may face and increasing your overall quality of life.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptoms, therapy addresses the underlying causes of our distress and the behavior patterns that can affect our lives. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor or your psychiatrist you can determine what’s best for you, and in many cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
At this time I only accept Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and HMO plans. That being said, your health insurance may provide reimbursement, allowing you to see an out of network provider at no additional cost to you. It is important to speak with your insurance carrier to see what your benefits are.
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call your insurance carrier. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Is therapy confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a patient and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive material that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist’s office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Psychiatrist, Naturopath), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services and law enforcement, based on information provided by the patient or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the patient is in serious danger of harming themselves or has threatened to harm another person.